Valencia's Connor Downs (14) dodges a tackle from Chaparral's Dane Breslo (11) during a football game against Chaparral of Scottsdale, Ariz. on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Valencia to battle tough ground game against Heritage

Valencia football has yet to face a true challenge in the playoffs, winning both postseason games by at least 30 points.

It could be a different story tonight, as the team takes on Heritage of Romoland at home in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 semifinals.

The Patriots most recently earned a 41-7 win over Calabasas, a team that handed Valencia its only loss of the season in preleague.

“To me, they look very athletic and they seem really good and disciplined on defense,” said receiver Zach Semko. “So we’re just going to practice hard and do what we’ve been doing.”

Heritage saw productivity in the ground game last week, with two running backs rushing for over 100 yards. James Phillips ran for 120 yards on 14 carries, while Sherod White tallied 132 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.

Valencia could be a running back short, with Jayvaun Wilson unlikely to play due to an ankle injury.

A win tonight would also help the Vikings move on from last year’s heartbreaking semifinal loss.

“All offseason that’s all we’ve been hearing about is how we lost to San Clemente and everything and they went on to win the championship,” said receiver Kyle Quintal. “We’re all sick of hearing about it and we all want to take the next step.”

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